In 2014, things were changing at Cadillac. The brand has brought on Johan de Nysschen, who famously led Audi to become a worldwide luxury powerhouse and it was hailed as the luxury division’s true new beginning. But we have to make one thing clear: Mr. de Nysschen did not concoct the plan to move Cadillac to New York City.
Instead, that was actually General Motors itself. Automotive News (subscription required) highlighted the fact the NYC move was made ahead of de Nysschen’s appointment in August 2014. The South African executive merely executed the plan.
But, de Nysschen owned the plan and put his stamp on Cadillac for good after planting roots in NYC. Through his tenure, he oversaw some good, and some bad for the luxury brand in its Manhattan-based headquarters. The often-hyped “Dare Greatly” campaign came to be, but mostly flunked; de Nysschen gave his seal of approval on a 10-year turnaround plan for the brand; and Book by Cadillac became one of the first car-subscription services on the market.
The move also did good things for Cadillac employees and the NYC location attracted talent that wouldn’t have considered a 100-plus-year-old automotive brand in Detroit, Michigan. But, GM couldn’t swallow the idea of giving Cadillac too much freedom. That was especially true as the brand gears up to launch a new vehicle every six months through 2020. GM put the clamps on the brand before Cadillac turned drunk on autonomy, though that would likely never have happened now that Steve Carlisle is at the helm.
Yes, de Nysschen did a lot of things with Cadillac during roughly four years on the job, but NYC wasn’t his idea. However, we’ll give the former embattled executive credit for owning the move and everything that came out of the SoHo office. The doings will forever be known as the de Nysschen era.